Friday, April 22, 2016


David Lee White - Sanism - headshotSANISM
by David Lee White

WHEN: Friday, April 29th, at 7:00 p.m.
Case Room, NJPAC, One Center St., Newark
ADMISSION: $5, and proceeds will benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mercer County, which provides education and support for individuals and families affected by mental illness.
Tickets can be purchased on the NJPAC website or by calling 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722).
The public dialogue which follows is free and open to the public. Panelists include White, mental health practitioner and advocate Tom Pyle, and medical humanities scholars Nancy Gross and Suzanne McConnell.

New Jersey Theatre Alliance in partnership with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Newark Celebration 350, invites the public to a reading and discussion of David Lee White’s play-in-progress, Sanism, one of three new plays by New Jersey playwrights about New Jersey issues commissioned through the NJPAC Stage Exchange program in 2016.

A docu-play based on interviews with people who suffer from mental illness, Sanism tells the story of a woman whose psychotic break and odyssey through the mental healthcare maze lead to a reunion with old high-school friends and the revelation of old secrets.

After a reading of the script by professional actors, the public is invited to lend their voices to a dialogue with Mr. White (pictured above) and three panelists about how the play aligns with real-life experience.

“It’s really important for me to hear what you think,” said White. “This is a very charged topic, the topic of mental illness and mental health treatment, and if anyone has any experience with that at all—mental health professionals or if you have anyone in your family who is affected—I would really love for you to come out and give me your input.”

David Lee White is the Associate Artistic Director and Resident Playwright at Passage Theatre Company in Trenton, which has agreed to launch a full-scale production of Sanism when it is completed in 2017. White has written many plays that have appeared on New York and New Jersey stages, and is known for conducting interviews with Trenton residents on the topics of race, identity, and history to inform his plays.

About NJPAC Stage Exchange: The Commissions
Now in its second season, NJPAC Stage Exchange: The Commissions (NJStageX) is collaborating with three professional New Jersey theatres to commission and produce new plays by a talented trio of Garden State playwrights. Following their staged readings at NJPAC in the spring of 2016, each new work will receive a full production during the 2016-17 season at the partner theatres. The selected playwrights and theaters include David Lee White and Passage Theatre Company (Trenton); Nikkole Salter and Luna Stage Company (West Orange); and Chisa Hutchinson and Writers Theatre of New Jersey (Madison).  Each play will have a staged reading at NJPAC and then receive a world premiere at its co-commissioning theater during the 2016-17 season.

There is a strong community engagement component to NJStageX with proceeds from the staged readings going to New Jersey-based non-profit organizations and institutions whose missions complement themes and issues addressed in the plays. Each reading will be followed by a free symposium, made possible by a generous grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, where the playwright will be joined on stage by a panel of academics, activists and professionals to discuss the issues in the play.

About New Jersey Theatre Alliance
Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the first statewide organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate professional theatre in New Jersey. Funding for New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Bank of America, Prudential Foundation, and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. More information can be found at

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey—where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state's and the world's best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 10 million visitors (including over 1.5 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. To learn more:

About Newark Celebration 350
Newark Celebration 350 (NC 350) is a year-long jubilee of unique events and festivities commemorating the 350th anniversary of the city of Newark’s founding. Over 150 marquee programs will highlight the city’s rich history, remarkable achievements, diverse communities and extraordinary culture presented by a unique coalition of citizens, educational institutions, cultural organizations and community groups. This spectacular “festival of festivals” aims to inspire and excite locals and visitors from around the world by showcasing the best of this great American city. For a schedule of events: